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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Madagascar defeat motivated the Super Eagles against Cameroon – Rohr

09:48 GMT+3 07/07/2019
Gernot Rohr - Nigeria
The German tactician was full of praise for his ‘young team’ following their comeback win against reigning Afcon champions Cameroon

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said his side redeemed themselves against Cameroon to progress to the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations, after a ‘lesson of humility’ against Madagascar.

The Super Eagles went into the half-time break the losing side after goals from Stephane Bahoken and Clinton N’Jie canceled out Odion Ighalo’s opener in the 19th minute.

However, the three-time African champions overturned the first-half deficit – courtesy of goals from Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi in the 63rd and 66th minute respectively.

Reacting after the game, Rohr said his team couldn’t wait to make up for their embarrassing performance in the game against Madagascar.

“I know my team and I know that since last Sunday they want to really do well and win for all the players who made some mistakes,” the 66-year-old manager told the media after the 3-2 win over the Indomitable Lions.

“We lost the game we never had to lose against Madagascar, but it was a lesson of humility and also the motivation to do really well [against Cameroon].

“We wanted to finish first in the group but we could not. The most important for us was to win this match of the last 16. It happened when I was in Gabon, we won the three matches as host country and we lost in the quarterfinals after 120 minutes via penalties. So sometimes it’s better to have one loss in the group stage and then win in the knockout games.

Gernot Rohr, who came under severe criticism following Nigeria’s unimpressive showing in the group stage, stated that his players showed signs of belief in a comeback during the half-time break.

“I have a team with good spirit and good solidarity. Even in half-time when the moment was difficult, I saw that we could still believe in it. Because in the first half, we were the better team, but we conceded those two goals in the end of the first-half and so we had to be very strong mentally to come back in the match.

“The beginning of the second half was not so easy, but then, we came back. And I think physical fitness helped us also.

“We had two days more to prepare for the match. We could stay in Alexandria in this nice place, with a good climate not so hot like Cairo, and this could help us also,” Rohr stated.

“But I must say that my young team have this desire to win even if it’s difficult. Cameroon didn’t concede any goal in the three matches with a big goalkeeper playing in the Champions League. The challenge was to score a goal, but to score three goals was wonderful.”

Nigeria will face South Africa in the quarterfinals after the Bafana Bafana shocked hosts Egypt 1-0 in the other Round of 16 fixture played on Saturday.